Today, NeW is celebrating 16 wonderful years of empowering conservative women! During this momentous occasion, we look back at some of our top successes and highlights from the past 16 years.
1. NeW Empowers Conservative Women at CPAC
The Conservative Political Action Conference is one of the largest gatherings for conservatives in the country. NeW has consistently had a strong presence at the event. In 2018, Karin Lips, President and Founder of NeW, was invited to speak on the main stage about intellectual diversity on college campuses, which garnered interest from attendees in starting NeW chapters. This February, NeW was thrilled to provide scholarships to 40 NeW leaders to attend CPAC. Since 2011, NeW has also hosted our annual dessert party for the women who attend CPAC. In 2020, more than 100 women attended the Women EmPower Hour dessert party. Past speakers include Mary Katharine Ham, CNN Contributor; Angela McGlowan, political commentator and best-selling author; Lisa Daftari, Foreign Affairs Investigative Journalist; Kassy Dillon, Founder of Lone Conservative; Patrice Onwuka, Senior Policy Analyst for Independent Women’s Forum; Antonia Okafor, NeW alumna and Second Amendment Advocate; and Emily Jashinsky, NeW alumna and culture editor at The Federalist.
2. NeW Equips Women in the Media
In August 2019, NeW launched the Student Media Fellowship as a way to train more conservative women to be thoughtful spokeswomen. Since launching, 10 women from Baylor University, Boston College, The Catholic University of America, the University of Florida, the University of Mississippi, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the University of Virginia have participated, receiving personal mentorship from the NeW team as they write op-eds and learn about job opportunities in the communications field. Fellows have had their work published in Campus Reform, The Daily Wire, Detroit News, The Federalist, NorthJersey.com, and the Waco Tribune-Herald, been interviewed on Fox & Friends First and EWTN News Nightly, and have gone on to get jobs and internships at national media outlets including Fox News, The Daily Signal, and The Federalist.
3. NeW Educates Women on Conservative Policies with Partnerships at the White House
Over the past 16 years, NeW has developed partnerships with high-level government leaders including at the White House, giving our students opportunities to tour the East Wing and attend exclusive policy briefings and events hosted by the White House. The White House has organized two briefings in the last year 18 months for NeW chapter leaders where the women had the chance to learn from and ask questions of high-level administration officials as well as invited NeW Professional Network leaders to attend a White House Policy Briefing with Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway. Additionally, NeW at The Catholic University of America hosted a special event on campus with Giovanna Pence, Director of Women’s Engagement in the White House Office of Public Liaison. Following this event, leaders from the chapter were invited to attend a private event at the White House to watch the departure of Marine One where they had the opportunity to meet President Donald J. Trump.
4. NeW Gives Conservative Women a Voice
Here at NeW, we like to give women the opportunity to share their voice through our Annual Essay Contest. This year, during the 2020 NeW Essay Contest, we received a record number of submissions. More than 800 high school seniors and college women submitted an essay to compete for the chance to be published by contest co-sponsor, the Washington Examiner. The winners of the High School Category and the College Category were published in the Washington Examiner on August 26, Women’s Equality Day, in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in America.
5. NeW Recognizes Gentlemen of Service
2020 marked the 10th Anniversary of The Gentlemen Showcase. Over the past 10 years, NeW has celebrated, recognized, and honored young gentlemen across the country for their service, respect, and kindness. In 2018, NeW was elated to have Ben Shapiro, political pundit and bestselling author, serve as our Honorary Gentlemen. In this role, Shapiro brought positive attention to this annual program, and it has since grown. This year, we received more than 200 nominations from people across the country highlighting the men they thought deserve the title “Gentleman of the Year.” Since launching, this program has been featured by ABC News, CBS DC, New York Post, Red Alert Politics, The Atlantic, The College Fix, the Washington Examiner, and Townhall.
6. NeW Prepares Women to Stand Boldly on Campus
In 2015, NeW hosted its first Leadership Retreat to bring students together to prepare them for what they will face on campus as conservative women. Since then more than 200 women have attended a NeW Leadership Retreat where they have learned about essential professional development skills, heard from top conservative female leaders, and planned successful events to grow their chapters on campus. The Leadership Retreat has been hosted in Ashland, Virginia; Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, and Cincinnati, Ohio and brought in leading speakers such as Katie Pavlich, Fox News Contributor; Sheila Tate, former Press Secretary for First Lady, Nancy Reagan; Representative Kate Klunk, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Peggy Grande, former Executive Assistant to President Ronald Reagan; Inez Stepman, Senior Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum; Kassy Dillon, founder of Lone Conservative; and Joy Pullman, Managing Editor for The Federalist.
7. NeW Celebrates the Woman’s Vote
As America celebrated 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment this year and prepares to vote during the upcoming election, NeW empowers conservative women through the Conservative Women Vote campaign. Through this campaign, women have shared on social media the issues they care about most and why they vote. Influencers, leaders, and friends of NeW have been encouraging other conservative women as they wore our “Conservative Women Vote” t-shirt, including Katie Pavlich, Fox News Contributor; Kay Cole James, President of The Heritage Foundation; Rebecca Kleefisch, former Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin; Devon Mirsky; Director of PragerFORCE; and Ashley MacLeay, DC State Board of Education Member and Director of External Affairs for Independent Women’s Forum. And NeW women learned about the history of the women who fought to secure our right to vote. This campaign’s success was not measured with numbers and statistics, but rather in the shear confidence our women gained to speak up and show those around them that they are proud to vote as conservative women.
8. NeW Shares the Inspiring Stories of Conservative Women
For 16 years, NeW has been a safe-haven for conservative women to find a community of like-mind peers. We have heard their stories of the backlash they have faced on campus from their fellow students, their professors, and even the school administrations. In 2018, NeW was proud to publish She’s Conservative: Stories of Trials and Triumphs on America’s College Campuses, featuring the stories of 22 women who experienced backlash on their campuses. Through this book, NeW has promoted the need for intellectual diversity on campus and showed the lack of respect for conservative women often demonstrated on campus.
9. NeW Gives Conservative Women a Platform to Share their Stories Nationally
Last year, Fox Nation heard about the work NeW was doing and wanted to feature the women involved. Tomi Lahren, a host on the network, hosted an exclusive town hall episode with three NeW leaders, Magdalene Horzempa from NeW at UNC Chapel Hill; Vanessa Rivera, alumna of NeW at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Neetu Arnold, alumna of NeW at Cornell University. During the show, the women shared their impactful stories of overcoming challenges to become stronger, wiser, and more courageous. They talked about the big issues of today and why conservative women deserve a voice in these debates. And they gave their advice for standing strong as conservative women, no matter what the opposition says.
Horzempa said during the town hall, “The biggest piece of advice that I can give, especially to conservative women, is to find a NeW chapter on their campus or to start their own NeW chapter on campus. The leadership opportunities you get and the networking opportunities, aside from just being a conservative women’s organization is amazing. I’ve been able to meet so many great women and network with so many inspirational trailblazers in so many different fields that I’ve grown so much as a person.”
10. NeW Introduces Women to Conservative Authors
In 2004, when Karin Lips gathered a group of women for the first meeting of the Network of enlightened Women at the University of Virginia, she hosted a book club. Since then, book clubs have been a large component of the programming NeW offers. NeW book clubs give women an opportunity to read empowering books, discuss the reading with like-minded women, and hear from inspirational, female conservative leaders. But the book clubs have often been more than just reading engaging books as NeW has had the opportunity to introduce the women to the authors. This summer, NeW hosted book club events with Senator Joni Ernst on her book, Daughter of the Heartland: An Ode to the Land That Raised Me, Carrie Severino on her co-authored book, Justice on Trial, and Heidi Ganahl on her book, The She Factor. Currently, NeW is reading the new book by Senator Marsha Blackburn, The Mind of A Conservative Woman, and book club members will have the chance to meet the author during a special online event on October 21.
11. NeW Hosts Top Conservative Leaders at Annual National Conference
The NeW National Conference is one of NeW’s largest programs, bringing women from across the country to Washington, DC for two days to hear from conservative leaders. This premier leadership conference for conservative women has had the privilege of hosting keynote speakers including Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN); Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21); Neomi Rao, U.S. Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President; Katie Pavlich, Editor at Townhall and Fox News Contributor; Mary Katharine Ham, CNN Contributor; Kate Obenshain, political commentator and author of Divider in Chief; and Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
12. NeW Reaches Women Across the Country in Major Women’s Publications
As an organization for conservative and independent-minded women, many would not expect to see NeW in major women’s publications. However, over the past 16 years, NeW has been featured in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Teen Vogue.
Samantha Leach, writer for Glamour, attended the 2017 National Conference to see what NeW was all about and in her piece after the event wrote that she, “started thinking about this group of women that I’d known nothing about and, in some ways, judged unfairly….I gained a deeper sympathy for how isolated from other women they sometimes feel and how they’re without established female icons in their party. And yet they do persist as vocal champions of their beliefs.”
13. NeW Supports Women After College
Since NeW started in 2004, we have created not only a welcoming community, but an empowering network that supports and helps women land their dream jobs and internships. One NeW woman, Neetu Arnold, got involved with NeW while attending Cornell University. She became a leader in her school’s chapter where NeW supported her passion for writing, helping her publish op-eds and get her voice heard. After graduating, NeW recommended her for her current job with the National Association of Scholars. Neetu has been grateful for the connections she has found with NeW and is currently starting the NeW Philadelphia Professional Network chapter in her community.
14. NeW Changes the Narrative of What a Conservative Looks Like
In 2016, NeW launched the #ShesConservative campaign in an effort to shatter stereotypes about what young women believe today and what a conservative looks like. From positive press about the campaign in Cosmopolitan, Forbes, and the Washington Examiner to social media posts from influencers such as Katie Pavlich, Carly Fiorina, and Kristen Soltis Anderson, the hashtag #ShesConservative reached an impressive 25 million people on Twitter alone. From this campaign, women around America found a network where they could connect with like-minded women and have a voice.
15. NeW Provides Empowering Community for Conservative Young Professionals
As NeW has expanded over the past 16 years, we saw a need to continue providing opportunities for conservative women to learn and grow as they graduate college and move into their careers. We launched the NeW Professional Network. With original chapters in New York City and Washington, DC, professionals were able to find a much-needed community where they could connect, learn important professional development tools, and grow their confidence as conservatives. In the past two years, NeW alumna from Western Michigan University, The Ohio State University, and Cornell University have started the NeW Columbus Professional Network, NeW Twin Cities Professional Network, and the NeW Philadelphia Professional Network.
16. NeW Meets a Need for Connection During Global Pandemic
This year, as a world pandemic quickly shut down colleges and women were sent home, NeW became one of the first organizations to launch creative online programming. Since the spring, NeW has hosted weekly policy discussions, professional development trainings, book clubs, and empowering chats with women in the network as a way to continue providing a community and place for conservative women to be educated, equipped, and empowered. These online programs have already reached more than 80,000 people.